Senior man enjoying a cup of coffee

Understanding the side effects of too much caffeine

Do you need that morning cup of coffee, that afternoon can of cola or those over-the-counter caffeine pills to get through the day? It’s no wonder when caffeine comes with plenty of perks from improving your memory to helping you focus and increasing your energy and boosting your mood. While caffeine can perk you up, it can also drag you down and leave you jumpy, jittery, restless, nervous, and sleepless. These are just a couple of caffeine side effects. Long-term dependence on caffeine means that you’ll need more and more caffeine to get the same feel-good fix. And having too many cups or capsules can lead to a caffeine overdose, which can cause serious caffeine side effects in the long term. Today, open your eyes to the many caffeine side effects—short term and long term—and pick up some healthy tips to safely enjoy your caffeinated pick-me-ups.

The buzz on caffeine

People around the world reach for caffeine to keep their mind sharp and their energy high. This is because caffeine is a popular stimulant that can improve your mood and concentration, along with your memory and physical performance. Caffeine can wake you up in the morning and keep you up through the day. It can also help you lose weight due to the caffeine effect on metabolism. Studies on the caffeine effect on metabolism have shown that the stimulant can raise your metabolic rate, which helps you burn more fat and calories. And, the higher your metabolic rate due to the caffeine effect on metabolism, the more you’ll be able to eat without gaining weight. But, too much of a good thing can be very bad for your health. Overdoing it on the coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, or caffeine pills can lead to a caffeine overdose, which comes with all kinds of caffeine side effects that can range from subtle to serious.

Wake up to caffeine side effects

Even having a little caffeine can lead to a lot of side effects. These typically take around 30 minutes to notice but can last up to 10 hours. Having a single cup of coffee can cause mild side effects like an upset stomach or heartburn. The more you sip and swallow, the more uncomfortable caffeine side effects may become. Some common caffeine side effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Greater thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Poor appetite

How much is too much?

Most healthy adults can safely have up to 400 milligrams of caffeine each day without any adverse effects. You can get this caffeine fix from five 8-ounce cups of coffee, two energy drinks, or eight 12-ounce cans of soda. If you drink more than that then your addiction may lead to a caffeine overdose. Symptoms can be as minor as abdominal pain or diarrhea. But, caffeine overdose symptoms can also be as severe as rapid heart rate, tremors, seizures, dehydration, and irregular heartbeat. Consuming too much caffeine on a daily basis can lead to additional caffeine overdose symptoms, such as panic attacks, nervousness, anxiousness, dizziness, sleeplessness, and headaches. Speak to your CarolinaMD-affiliated doctor to learn more about how caffeine intake may affect your health and well-being.

Get up and go with a healthy dose of caffeine

The good news is that caffeine can be good for you. It can brighten your mood, sharpen your mind, and rev up your energy. It can also help you lose weight due to the caffeine effect on metabolism. The key is knowing and going with the right amount to avoid a caffeine overdose. But, there’s no need to give up your coffee cup. Consider cutting back on caffeine with these helpful tips:

  1. Reduce your caffeine intake slowly to avoid headaches and fatigue.
  2. Order the smallest size coffee, tea, or soda.
  3. Drink decaf instead of regular.
  4. Swap your morning brew for a smoothie, fruit juice, lemonade, or coconut water.
  5. Grab a caffeine-free flavored seltzer instead of a soda for a fizzy fix.
  6. Drink lots of water to reduce your desire for caffeinated thirst quenchers.

Try these caffeine-cutting ideas to keep your mood and your energy up without downing too much caffeine.

About CarolinaMD

CarolinaMD is one of the nation’s largest firms providing initial conversion and ongoing support services to concierge medicine physicians. CarolinaMD currently partners with over 200 affiliated primary care physicians and specialists across 35 states, and its network is rapidly expanding.